Black or white? Mars or Venus? Mainly visual or mainly textual?
How skilled are my students at detecting visual syntax? Because I’m completely illiterate.
Do they read comics? Yes, but only a few of them. Do they paint? Certainly not! Are they Photoshop wizards? Well, two or three in an average class of twenty-something will have heard of it. How do they spend their afternoons? Doing sport and/or hanging out with their friends, basically (or wishing they could, rather than studying). They are a healthy bunch of young people!
Are they happy to go digital? No, they’re not, because in their experience their digital teacher (me) intrudes in their afternoons with her f***ing virtual classroom that must be logged into while one would rather be playing his football match or her volleyball match or hanging out etc etc
Engaging, I keep repeating to myself. Engaging and enticing and fascinating and alluring (e-a-e-a-f-a-a, sounds nice!)
But on must I go, towards the very distant goal of publishing a first chapter of a (necessarily im-)perfect eTextbook. So choices must be made, tools chosen, ideas turned into a colourful shape!
Maybe if I imagined I was in their shoes… As a student, I would like
- my first reaction to be: “Wow”!
- my interface to the learning activities to be the first thing I see, the easiest one to go back to
- all of my instructions to be clear, the goals clearly stated
- some of the content to be easy
- some of the content to be more challenging
- to be able to put something of myself into what I’m doing for school
- at the end of the experience, to turn back and be amazed at what I’ve been able to accomplish
- and of course, to get a good mark as easily as possible!
As a teacher, I would like
- to have a very clear idea of where I’m going
- to be careful to avoid grand plans – my lesson time is scarce and precious
- to have a good set of tools
- my materials to be easy to produce and re-use
- to have good rubrics from the start, so that assessing and grading don’t turn into some sort of punishment for both me and my students
- to provide for students with different abilities, learning pace and learning styles, from easy to challenging, from the bottom layer of Bloom’s taxonomy up, without expecting too much but ready to let them glimpse the next step!